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The Guardian: “Cypriot farmers struggle to meet demand for halloumi”

November 12, 2018 at 3:30pm

The Observer ran a story yesterday, which reported on the difficulties Cypriot dairy-makers face as international demand for halloumi continues to rise.

The Observer writes that “halloumi’s unprecedented global popularity has also begun to cause concern. Fears are being voiced that local dairy farmers soon won’t be able to keep up with demand.”

A Larnaca dairy farmer tells the Observer that: ““It’s difficult enough servicing demand in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. If the Chinese learn about it too, it will become impossible to keep up.”

Last week, the Cypriot government signed a protocol allowing the export of dairy products to China.

The article notes that farmers have been forced to increase the proportion of cow’s milk from 50% to 80% because of a limited supply of sheep and goats.

“Not all of us have sheep and goats, and to meet standards you need them to make it,” Andreas Andreou director of the industry department at Cyprus’s chamber of commerce, told the Observer. “It’s only logical that if we go on like this there won’t be enough to go round.”

“There just isn’t enough milk,” says the farmer, adding that he has been forced to import sheep from Italy and Denmark. The high temperatures of Cypriot summer affect animal production, he says. “In summer, when temperatures get up to 42C, the animals produce very little. It’s very difficult to get them pregnant. In such heat they don’t even want to eat!”

Outside Cyprus, Britain remains the second biggest consumer of the cheese, whose barbecue friendliness has made it a favourite among vegetarians as well as meat-eaters, the Observer writes.

Stelios Angelodemou, the man behind the Melbourne halloumi festival, due to take place on November 17, predicts that soon every restaurant will be selling the cheese.

“When it comes to cheese, halloumi is a star,” the Cypriot community leader told the Melbourne Greek-newspaper Neos Kosmos.

“It’s a great cheese, so tasty, and the only cheese you can place on top of a flame that won’t burn or melt; that makes it special.”

The Observer goes on to write about how British and German farmers have tried to produce their own version of the cheese using only cow’s milk. “Such violations have forced the Cyprus government – which is again trying to register halloumi as a protected designation of origin product – to hire a watchdog of international scouts.”

Last year, scientists at Edinburgh University said they would be helping Cypriot breeders to increase production of goat’s and sheep’s milk for halloumi. “All the signs are that this season is going to get off to a good start,” said Giorgos Petrou, another dairy farmer on the island. “When winter comes, our animals produce a lot more milk. We want to make halloumi lovers everywhere happy,” the article concludes.

Read more:

How will Brexit affect halloumi?